On safety around railways, presidential debates, United Way's big event, Vikings, and the need for rain.

When it comes to railways, you can’t be too careful
Over the past year or so, there have been a number of pedestrian-train accidents in the region, most recently one in Crookston this weekend. Thankfully, the victim's life was spared, but this hasn't been the case with most. While other factors, such as alcohol use, might have come into play, a common denominator in such incidents has been that the pedestrian crosses the railroad tracks at a spot where there is no crossing. People need to realize that railroad crossings, for pedestrians as well as drivers, are created for a reason, to provide safe places make their way across the tracks and warn if an approaching train prevents them from doing so. A point to ponder: In a fight between humans and trains, the train will always win.

It’s debate time
If you aren’t fed up with the presidential campaign just yet, or if you somehow haven’t decided who you’ll be voting for come November, you might want to spend some time this coming week watching the presidential debates, where everything gets real. The kick-off for the debates will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the University of Denver, where President Obama and Mitt Romney will share their opinions on domestic policy.  Both politicians will be given the chance to persuade voters why they are most suitable to become the President of the United States for the next four years, while still throwing in a few jabs at their opponent, something they’ve been doing throughout the year. So if you’re still undecided about the upcoming presidential election, take some time this week to get a better idea on who you’ll be voting for in November by watching the presidential debates. Every vote counts, and yes, it is a big deal. Katie Davidson, Student Staff Writer

Don’t worry about cooking supper on Tuesday
First it was chili. Lots and lots of chili…all you could eat in return for a donation to the cause. Then, a few years ago, a variety of soups was added to the menu. And last year, the icing on the cake, so to speak: Chocolate…so much so that it was called nothing less than a chocolate “extravaganza.” That’s right, it’s time once again for the United Way of Crookston’s annual Soup and Chili Cook-off and Chocolate Extravaganza. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Crookston High School commons and continue until 7 p.m. Don’t worry about having to whip up a fabulous meal for your family; simply show up at the high school and go home full, knowing that, with your donation, you’ve helped around 30 Crookston area agencies that do a whole lot of good do even a little more good for all kinds of people.

Jump on the bandwagon!?
Holy Brett Favre! Who is this Vikings team and where did they come from? Certainly people overreacted when they lost to Indianapolis in week two but to come back and beat San Francisco and Detroit the way they did was downright shocking. The offense still has work to do. They need to find some kind of consistency, but the versatility of Percy Harvin and the steady hands of Kyle Rudolph are intriguing. If Adrian Peterson can get back to his old ways and consistently put up 100+ yards each game and if Jerome Simpson can take the top off defenses this offense will be unstoppable. The defense is much better than last year and it was refreshing to see the secondary shut down Calvin Johnson on Sunday. But enough of the offense and defense, how about we just get a kick return and punt return touchdown each game? That works for us.

An accurate forecast for some precipitation
What is one thing around here that we all want to see? What is it that we need? That, everyone, would be rain. Sure, there have been sprinkles and drizzle here and there, but nothing significant. Does anyone remember what a heavy rain even sounds like or smells like? It has nearly been two months since there has been at least a half-inch of rain. Couple this with the very warm temperatures of late and it creates a less than ideal situation. The land has suffered because of these conditions, and it has impacted many of the crops in the region. Hopefully that will change this week and the rain that is forecast will come as well as the 30 degree temperature drop-off. Not only will the rain replenish the dry, cracked ground, but the cold temps will help the sugar beet harvest campaign get started because beets do not keep well in warmth. People do know how important it is for a successful harvest to take place. So, let's all hope for the rain to come this week and give what this drought-laden region has been thirsting for.  Amanda Wagner, Times Intern